Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:17 pm
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was among several political prisoners released by Tehran on Wednesday, just days ahead of a visit by Iran's newly elected moderate president to the United Nations in New York.
Sotoudeh, who had been held since 2010, was one of eight women and three men released, according to the BBC. Reformist politician Mohsen Aminzadeh was also among the prisoners freed.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:36 pm
As House Republican leaders acquiesce to their Tea Party faction and tie a government spending renewal to the defunding of Obamacare, don't look for much cheering from the Senate minority leader's office.
That's because what had largely been House Speaker John Boehner's problem now becomes Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell's problem — at least for the next steps of this drama.
Lots of listeners read all kinds of messages into The Beatles' White Album, but nothing compares to the album's impact on Charles Manson. He heard it as a message to him and his followers — known as "The Family" — that the world was on the verge of an apocalyptic race war in which blacks would rise up against their white oppressors and enslave them.
This battle would be set off by an event called Helter Skelter, after the eponymous Beatles song, and Manson planned to lead his followers into the desert, where they would hide until the chaos ended.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 4:28 pm
The Federal Reserve said today that it is not slowing down its monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds.
The program is intended to stimulate a sluggish economy and the Fed was widely expected to announce that in light of a recovering economy, it was tapering the bond-buying program. Instead, it delivered a surprise that caused the markets to jump, as the Dow and the S&P closed at record highs.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:34 pm
A judge has ruled that a Tennessee woman can name her 8-month-old son "Messiah" — a decision that overturns a ruling last month that drew international attention to the boy.
In a paternity hearing in August, Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough brought a dispute over their son's surname. Martin had given her son the name Messiah Deshawn Martin, but McCullough wanted the boy to have his last name.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:31 pm
The man behind Beanie Babies, the toy animals that saw their heyday in the mid-1990s, has agreed to plead guilty to tax evasion for failing to report income held in Swiss bank accounts.
H. Ty Warner, 69, has been charged in U.S. District Court with felony tax evasion. The indictment alleges that in 1996, Warner traveled to Zurich to open an account with Union Bank of Switzerland with the intent to "evade and defeat" taxes on $3.1 million in foreign income.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later this hour, we will meet the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, and we'll find out how she's already gotten a lesson in grace under fire after her Indian-American heritage drew a swarm of haters on the web. It's the first of two conversations we'll have this hour about the interesting politics of beauty right now.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear about the songs that keep Cuban-American rapper Pitbull grounded, that is when he's not cranking out his own chart-topping hits. First, though, we want to tell you about a new documentary series that takes a look at the long, some might say, overlooked, history of Hispanics in this country. It's called "Latino Americans."
Cuban-American rapper Pitbull shares some of his favorite songs for Tell Me More's regular 'In Your Ear' segment.
One of his favorite songs is Nuestro Dia (Ya Viene Llegando) by Willy Chirino. "It's all about the story, the struggle and the hustle that a lot of Cubans go through to enjoy the freedom, liberties and opportunities that the United States has to offer," says Pitbull. He's proud of Chirino, and says the song keeps him grounded.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:25 am
A study on guns, violence and mental health, long scheduled to be published this week, finds that gun ownership is a bigger factor than mental illness when it comes to firearms deaths. But the data suggest that both play roles.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 9:59 am
Sheriffs' deputies who were testing a new sonar device on a lake in western Oklahoma's Custer County have come across two grim discoveries that may help solve two cold cases from decades ago.
The local Elk City Daily News says the "practice run for new sonar technology at Foss Lake became a recovery effort after officials discovered two vehicles submerged near the marina — with human remains inside."
It was Sept. 10, the newspaper says, when sonar detected "two cars side by side in about 12 feet of water."
Several weeks back, officials with the East China University of Political Science and Law met one of its professors, Zhang Xuezhong, at his favorite hangout, a coffeehouse in Shanghai.
Sitting in a private room, they told him he was suspended from teaching for articles he had posted on the Internet. In them, Zhang had argued that China's government needs to build a real rule of law — one to which even the party is accountable — as well as a system of checks and balances.
One way to start, he says, is to live up to the promises made in China's 1982 constitution.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:43 pm
A story in the Financial Times caught our eye this week. It was on foreign workers in South Korea.
The story looked at the town of Ansan, where about 7.6 percent of the population is foreign. They come from other Asian countries, as well as from Russia. Here's one of the reasons for the change in South Korea, a highly homogeneous society:
Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, took the crown in this year's Miss America beauty pageant. It was the 87th year of the competition, and Davuluri was one of two Asian-Americans in the final round. Although she's just a few days into her reign, Davuluri has already made history. She's the first Indian-American Miss America.
Her win highlights how far the U.S. has come, but also how far the country has to go: Racist tweets flooded in on Twitter right after her victory.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:05 am
This week's feel-good story of the homeless man in Boston who found a backpack containing $42,000 in cash and travelers checks and then turned it into authorities is developing into an even better tale.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 2:34 pm
"I don't know why he did what he did and I'll never be able to ask him why," Cathleen Alexis, mother of the man who authorities say killed 12 people Monday at the Washington Navy Yard, said in a statement she read to the media at midday Wednesday.
CNN has audio of her comments, in which she also says that "Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad."